Planarchy Archive - June 2003


Bumble Bee


After the lack of bees on my pretty (but sterile) Osteospermum I've been checking their visits to flowers in the garden.  Most, I'm pleased to say, still attract their fair share of the striped ones. 

But yesterday at a friend's house I couldn't help but notice that this "Bottlebrush Plant" (Callistemon citrinu, I believe) was absolutely swarming with our bumbling friends.  Good news too as I read that the humble bumble is a dying breed, another victim of intensive agriculture and our thirst for sterile ornamental varieties (like my Osterspurma). Sorry Mr.Bee!

So, go and get a Bottlebrush Plant now!

20030630   22:01

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Five Minutes


If they really do have an attention span of just five minutes, how come they come swiming towards me in a line (you'll have to click), their mouths snapping at the surface, whenever I walk past the pond in the evening? 

This, incidentally, is the time when I feed them.

Not so daft after all....and not so easy to photograph either.

20030628   19:28

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Mud, Mud

Hmm, Glastonbury time isn't it. 

Pining I am. 

Zee asked why I hadn't gone.  "Well, lack of a ticket was the main issue," I replied.  But my love of a proper bed is part of it too.   I'm not good at roughing it these days...

Not many of my pictures from yesteryear Glastonbury seem to make much sense.  But this one feels pleasantly mediaeval and vaguely Narnian.  So it will have to do for now....

20030627   19:50

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I Talk to the Trees

An interesting piece from todays Grauni Life section starting with the question "How many trees did it take to print the latest Harry Potter?". The answer is 110,000 they reckon, assuming no recycling. This sounds like an awful lot to me for just 13 million copies of the weighty tome. It might be all the noughts, or it might just be that 110,000 is a nearly comprehensible number whereas 13 million is just too big for my leetle brain.

Also 110,000 trees conjures for me an image of a glorious forest full of diversity, whereas the image of 13 million copies of a boook I will never read just leaves me cold. And this isn't meant to be an anti HP rant, and the Grauni include stats, admitting that it takes 460 trees a day to print copies of the paper and this is only so low due to the large amount of recycling.

Numbers, eh?

20030626   7:54

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The pond skater and I are at one today.

Totally knackered.  But I don't have a lilly pad to rest on.

20030625   21:12

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Come Again

I take a lot of pictures.  Regular visitors may have gathered this already.  And if I visit somewhere more than once I often find myself taking the same photos.  I don't realise until the viewfinder reaches my eye. 

But I usually click any way...."Maybe I'll capture the real essence this time," I think. 

Here is an example...

It's Albania through the early morning mist.  I showed you the previous years version about a month ago.

True, that was portrait but it's still fundamentally the same picture.

You'd think in a world as big as ours I could find new things to photograph (other than bugs doing you-know-what). 

Then again, maybe it's a Holy Grail type thing... searching for that one picture that says it all. 

Better to never get there in that case.  It's the journey that's important after all, not the destination.

</strokey beard>.

20030624   20:50

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Now I don't know about you, but one of the many things I like about my laptop is the warmth that it imparts to my lap. It makes it seem more like a living being and hence legitimises our relationship. It was thus with some surpise that I read that one of the benfits of the Laptop Cooler Mat was that it protected my legs from excess heat. If it realy got that hot then overheating CPUs would be much higher up my list of priorities, I have to say. How does this power free device work anyway? "Phase Change Materials and Chemical Reactions" , they say, but I remain sceptical. It reminds me of an Asimov story, entitled "The Gods Themselves" in which energy pumps were used to take energy from one universe to another. With disastrous results for all concerned I seem to remember as it's probably 30 years since I read it, I could be wrong.

20030623   8:28

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Sunshine on a Rainy Day

Well, the other way round really. 

'twas only a couple of days ago that I showed you my "Banana in the rain" picture.  After it was revealed that I couldn't enlarge it because it was a small bit of a larger picture (I'd not wanted to get close enough and therefore very wet), someone chastised me, in the nicest possible way, for not "suffering for my art"

Now, some people might have shrugged this off whilst others might have waited until it rained again to recapture the moment in higher resolution.  But I am both stubborn and impatient.  I chose a third option and, using a hose, a ladder and some string (a very useful thing) decided to bring the rain to a time more convenient to my "art".



I took a lot of nice pictures, more of which you'll see another day, but these two came closest to imitating the original.....clickety-click to enlarge. 


I'm still not 100% satisfied though.... there may still more to come...

Finally, to those that ask, "And where was the suffering this time?" I point out that the suffering will come when Zee returns to find out that the washing she put out to dry is wetter than when she left.

20030621   17:09

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I have sinned dear father

I laughed, you see, at a trailer for the new Jim Carrey film.  But I truly am sorry. 

I'm sure it won't happen again.

Nice crepuscular rays though.

20030620   16:35

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Is This it?

Nout new to say.  So I've added a random photo/comments that recycles old pictures (see right).  So far it contains stuff you've probably seen before.  But I plan to spend an evening with the scanner soon (exciting or what?).  Then there can be some old pictures.

Which are new to you.

20030619   21:16

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Good Morning Britain

A quick link for photgraphers to the BBC today programme's My Britain at 6am competition.

Well, I'm up at 6, aren't you? My pictures from that hour usually involve stationary traffic (too obvious?) or the construction of the towers at Canary Wharf...

20030619   11:15

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I'm Happy When it Rains


And boy is it raining here.

Sacre beu, il pleut des chats et des chiens.


20030617   19:53

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Pet Sounds

hamster picture

It's my own fault I suppose.  Letting the hamster play second fiddle to a rock-scorpion was never going to work.  He escaped again last night. 

We found him again eventually, having had us all worried all day.  But he gave me a look as if to say it won't be the last time.

Probably not if Dee keeps leaving the door open!

He's called "Coke" by the way. 

But it's not a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal type affair.


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Beware of the Flowers

Brugmansia, aka Datura, or even Angel's trumpets.  Lovely this time of year, both to look at and to smell.  The scent fills the garden and enters the kitchen at dusk.  Truly glorious.  The tender loving care that they require throughout the winter (they're not supposed to be frost hardy) is suddenly all worth while. 

And the bees love them too.

Go on, click and enlarge!

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Winds of Change

A nine-year-old girl found a deadly rock scorpion in a drawer at her home in Kimberley, Nottinghamshire.....said yesterday's Grauni

And that was all they said.

Now, I don't know about you but I would like to have a little more background.  Did they live next door to a zoo or did they keep scorpions as pets? 

We need the background here.

The story is of particular interest to me because on Friday night Zee found a hamster in one of her shoes.   Had I known the Guardian were interested in such stories I'd have informed them. Afterall, maybe there's an X-files type small- animal-sightings thang going on.

Well, I delve deeper than the Grauni.  

I can tell you that it was Dee's pet hamster and she'd left the cage door open. 

What do you mean hamsters aren't as exciting as rock scorpions?

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Screen Door Slams

Bruce has been absent from my listening for too long I fear.  I've just bought his latest, following recommendations from near and far but mainly, I suspect, because it was only £9.99 in my top record store (including a free DVD .... that I'll probably never watch).

Springsteen is an artist you either love or hate.  Who ever heard him called OK?  It's superlative territory when it comes to Bruce isn't it?

One nay-sayer recently told me it was the sugary arrangements that really turned him off.   Well, they're still very tinkly, there are enough chimes and bells here for several Christmas number ones.  The cheesy keyboards, Clarence's trademark sax and one hell of a kickin' snare also persist. 

But, as nearly always with Brooce, the songs win through I think.

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Before I Get Old

Zee was down Portsmouth way yesterday and found herself being "entertained" by the soothing sounds of Angel Community Radio.  Angel plays music from 1900-1959, "Knees Up Mother Brown" whilst Zee was in the cab. 

And a lot of engine noises, it plays old planes starting up. 

....and the D-Day landings too, apparently.

But I'm not here to knock such stations.  Well not really, anyway.  If there's an elderly group of folk down Portsmouth way that get enjoyment, comfort or whatever from such then fair enough.

I just wonder when I'll start to succumb to my equivalent.  So far I'm still enjoying discovering noo music.  I prefer slightly alternative thangs but the arrival of the girls gave me an excuse to return to TOTP which I also rather enjoy (though the tunes aren't as good as they were, are they?). 

But one day it'll be Xfm Gold I guess. 

Non-stop punk rock.  Excellent.

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You Give me Fever

As a snivelling young child I was subjected to 27 pin pricks along the length of my arm in an attempt to learn which pollens I was alergic to. 

Well, 23 of them it turned out.  So, never let it be said that I do anything by halves!

To summarise, flowers (and grasses for that matter) make me sneeze.  Sad that I love being with them so much.  Oh, the irony, why must the things we love always cause us such pain?

Every year I try a new drug.  They seem to work for a few weeks and then the sneezing, the eye watering and the ear-itching return.  Oh well, only a few more weeks until the worst is over.

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Animal Corner

Seems to be going that way what with Blue birds and now these, the latest additions to the DKNZ household.

But they are really cute.

And they squeak!

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Planarchy, or more exactly my server was hijacked last night.
Anyone get to see the hijackers ware?

Political, I believe. But I only caught a glimpse...

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Birds and Bugs

This year our bird feeding programme has resulted in the presence of broods of Great Tits, Blue Tits., Green Finches and Blackbirds.  It's lovely to see the young ones learning to fly and fend for themselves.  This young blue tit still has many of it's downy feathers.

Oh, and there's some more bug intimacy here.  Damsel flies this time.

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Picture This

I've been selecting pictures from the holiday to print out for the real-world album.  I used to print the Digicam images using my own printer.  But a friend asked if I'd tried using a traditional developers as many now offer the service.

I tried my local one and was amazed at the results.  Previously I'd been quite happy with my home printer but somehow these ones looked much more like photgraphs.  A close look suggests that my home printed ones are slightly sharper (too sharp?) but the colour balance is nowhere near as natural.   And, important point here, the local developer works out cheaper as long as you get at least 50 or so done at once.

Obviously I can't show you the difference here but I can show you some of those I'd selected for printing. 

Click for enlargement, as usual.


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Fronds Again

Just a few days since the fronds began to uncurl... and look at them now.  Glorious.



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We've been spoilt on our recent Cinema trips.
They've been like private screenings......  a dozen watched "The Hours" with us, half as many "Far From Heaven" and for "Solaris" we started off with one co-watcher but ended with zero (don't blame him either).  So it came as  something of a shock to find ourselves in a half full cinema to watch "The Matrix Reloaded"

Now, I liked the Matrix, and this sequel was also an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.  I'm not sure the near-ballet of the fight scenes worked more than once but Trinity's motorbike chase had me gripping the edge of my seat.  Excellent stuff.

As is Trinity herself, obviously.  I can't help but feel sorry for those looking to the male lead for inspiration.  Carrie-Anne Moss oozes cool and sex appeal whilst poor old Kee-anananoo just grimaces from one scene to another. 

And why was he dressed like a priest?

Zee says Mr.Reeves isn't important as the male interest was satisfied by the French bloke ( or, more accurately the bloke that loved swearing in French). 

Hmmm, can't see it myself.

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A few weeks back, it may even have been during the first Bank Holiday of May, whilst sitting in the garden 'neath the cherry tree, Zee's brother asked when it was that our garden went whoosh.

"What do you mean, whoosh?" we asked.

"Well, when it suddenly leaps into it's jungle like form," he replied.

He meant jungle-like as a compliment, by the way.  It's only a little garden sadly, so we've crammed in as many plants as possible.  Which means that there is a point in late spring/early summer when everything suddenly goes "Whoosh" and the garden suddenly becomes very full..... jungle-like even.

The week away made it more apparent.

And this is my current favourite.  Dicksonia antarctica, Ozzie tree fern, not a native sadly.  Purchased after our first trip to EnZee a few years ago.  The crown needs stuffing with straw for safety in winter and the old fronds die away.  So it's always a bit of a worry as to whether it has survived the winter.  No sign of life when we went away.  But on our return the fronds are starting to uncurl. 


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Crunchy Beetles

Lilly beetles on my lillies! 


Shagging for all to see, have they no shame?
For that matter, have they no brains? 
They are wearing red against a green leafy backgound. 

Not exactly camouflaged were they?

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